House at Historic Spanish Point, and the Ringling Estate. Photo credit: Jacob Pierce
Spooky Point at Historic Spanish Point
Haunted Trails at Oscar Scherer State Park
Bazaar at Apricot and Lime
The Bazaar on Apricot & Lime
Nathan Benderson Park
Trick-or-Treat on the Lake, Nathan Benderson Park
holiday lights at a garden
Selby Gardens Spooktacular
A walkway lines a natural waterway at The Bay in Sarasota
The Bay Park's Mangrove Bayou
Big Cat Habitat
Wild-O-Ween at Big Cat Habitat
Chalk Festival 2016
Chalk Festival

Where To Trick-or-Treat & Find Spooky Family Fun

Spooky season is upon us and Sarasota County is in full spirit mode for a happening month of Halloween with 11 other-worldly events. 

September 19, 2022

Planning a fa-boo-lous weekend away in Sarasota County this October with the family for a howling Halloween holiday? Rest assured, there is no shortage of community trick-or-treating events for the kids, spooktacular and eerie-sistible haunted trails, frightfully fun movie nights, family-friendly parades in costume and many spellbinding celebrations—everything to keep you and the kiddos stocked on candy and having a wicked good time after a great day at the beach. 

Trunk or Treat, University Town Center

On the weekend of October 22nd & 23rd, head to the shopping and dining district of University Town Center for a family-free event! The Trunk or Treat Halloween Parade invites you and the family to dress up in your best costumes and enjoy a fun parade of floats and entertainment from the comfort of your vehicle in UTC's large grass parking lot. Activities will include free Trick-or-Treat bags to the first 500 vehicles, a Trunk-or-Treat decorating contest for a chance to win spooktacular prizes and a "not-so-scary" drive-in movie showing following the parade in the grass overflow lot on the southeast side of The Mall at University Town Center (closest to I-75 and Dillard's). Registration is free and opens October 1st with limited space (the event does sell out). Register for free at Eventbrite140 University Town Center Dr, Sarasota, FL 34243

Lights at Spooky Point, Historic Spanish Point 

Running nightly from October 14th–31st, Selby Gardens' Historic Spanish Point campus will host a Halloween-themed light show—transforming the Florida foliage and historic grounds into "Spooky Point." Featuring a display of fantastic creatures and cute creations designed with lights, walk along an eerily lit path bathed in the glow of orange, purple and red lights through the woods at the preserve and outdoor museum. See historic sites like Mary’s Chapel and the Pioneer Graveyard in a mysterious (but not too scary) new light during this event for all ages. Along the walk, encounter flying “ghost orchids,” webs with “spider orchids,” giant “bat orchids,” vine-twisted skeletons, plenty of pumpkins and other surprises before finishing at a hay maze and returning to the gazebo. Food, snacks and beverages will be available near the Cottage—including fall favorites like candy apples, fresh popcorn and hot chocolate for sale. Tickets must be purchased in advance and are now on sale at selby.org. 401 N Tamiami Trl, Osprey, FL 34229

Haunted Trail Carnival, Arlington Park & Aquatic Center

Neighborhood park and gathering spot Arlington Park & Aquatic Center will host a Haunted Trail Carnival on Friday, October 21st, 5pm-7pm. Besides the expected hauntingly decorated foray, enjoy all-ages carnival games, a costume contest, face painting, trick-or-treating for the little ones and much more. This family-fun event is free, rain or shine. 2650 Waldemere St, Sarasota, FL 34239

Boo at The Bay! , The Bay Park

Also on Friday, October 21st, from 6pm–10pm ("sensory-friendly" hour 5-6pm), The Bay Park will be celebrating its 10-day grand opening with free and exciting experiences for all throughout the new waterfront park. After dark, celebrate a not-so-scary evening at Boo at The Bay!—filled with trick-or-treating, free pumpkin pickings, yard games, food truck easts, chances to win prizes and more. Costumes are encouraged, especially for the evening's special experiences—including Spooky Moonlight in the Mangroves Tour through the Mangrove Bayou Walkway to learn about the waterway's nocturnal creatures who come out to play at night! There will also be a Family Movie Night featuring PG-rated classic, "Hocus Pocus," sure to get you in the Halloween spirit! Make sure to sign up early for these special opportunities with limited attendance! To register, visit Eventbrite655 N Tamiami Trl, Sarasota, FL 34236

Trick-or-Treat on the Lake, Nathan Benderson Park

Get into the spirit by enjoying Halloween favorites for the entire family at Nathan Benderson Park's world-class Regatta Island on Tuesday, October 25th. Come dressed in your spookiest, silliest, star-studded costumes for an evening of trick-or-treating along a candy trail of not-too-spooky-themed booths decorated by community organizations. Returning for its second year, expect more themed children's activities of interactive play, storytelling, live music, a screening of "Hotel Transylvania" playing on the large video screen and lots and lots of candy! Candy stations will be staffed by businesses and organizations from around the area. This event is free, aside from $10 for parking per car. Find more information at nathanbendersonpark.org. 5851 Nathan Benderson Circle, Sarasota, FL 34235

Wild-O-Ween, Big Cat Habitat

On Saturday, October 29th and Sunday, October 30th, 12pm–4pm, get the kiddos super stoked for a roaring good time at Big Cat Habitat & Gulf Coast Sanctuary. In between admiring the big cats and the other rescued Florida wildlife, the wildest family-friendly Halloween event in town will feature pumpkin painting, pumpkin bowling, mummy wrapping, costume contests, pony rides, wild prizes and more. There will be individually wrapped Trick-Or-Treat bags given to each child on your way out of Wild-O-Ween and a lion costume wouldn't be a bad idea! For the full animal show arena schedule and more information on admission/ticketing, head here7101 Palmer Blvd, Sarasota, FL 34240

Boo at the Bazaar, The Bazaar on Apricot & Lime

Trick or treat at The Bazaar on Apricot & Lime on Saturday, October 29th, 10am-3pm. The community indoor market of art, gifts, home decor, clothing, collectibles and more doesn't care what age you are – just come in costume and have some fun. In between candy retrieval, shop the 40+ local creators and vendors. There will be delicious bites from Hamlet's Eatery food truck, airbrush tattoos, spooky spin art and live music to celebrate the holiday! For more information on this free event, visit here821 Apricot Ave, Sarasota, FL 34237

Selby Spooktacular, Selby Gardens

If staying close to Downtown Sarasota, this is an easy and family-fun daytime event to get to on Sunday, October 30th, 10am-2pm. The annual Selby Spooktacular at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is back for Halloween happenings such as trick-or-treating, arts and crafts, fun and educational activities, as well as more frightening (but not too scary) options for older children including an inflatable corn maze and storytelling. Children are encouraged to dress in costume and bring their own trick-or-treat bags to collect their goodies. Selby Spooktacular is free with paid admission. Visit selby.org for more information.1534 Mound St, Sarasota, FL 34236

Fright Night on St. Armands Circle

On the spooktacular night of Halloween, Monday, October 31st, 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm, get ready for a fabulous Halloween event on the famous St. Armands Circle. In its 14th year, Fright Night returns for the young and spooky at heart—transforming the Circle from island sophistication to Halloween fun. Decorated store fronts set the stage for the wandering spirits of St. Armands past. Frightening characters appear around every corner and statues are dressed to impress. All ages are welcomed to trick-or-treat throughout the Circle with numerous retailers and restaurants contributing to the Halloween spirit with candy and customized promotions. For more information, visit here. 300 Madison Dr, Sarasota, FL 34236